There are several parks in the Catskills that offer travelers many choices for fun activities, including swimming, hiking, camping and more. The following is a list of parks by county and what activities they offer.
Beals Pond State Forest, Beals Pond Road from Delaware County Route 20, or Getter Hill Road off of Route 206 in Masonville. Hiking - part of the Finger Lakes Trail cuts through the forest. Paddling with canoe or kayak. Fishing. Primitive camping is allowed - groups of 10 or more and staying longer than three nights require a permit from the forest ranger. Handicapped accessible: Beals Pond has accessible parking, campsites, a path to a picnic area, and a wildlife viewing platform. 607-652-7365.
Bear Spring Mountain Campground & Day Use Area, 512 East Trout Brook Road, Downsville - access off of Route 206. Camping - 41 tent and trailer sites. Handicapped accessible - Camping, showers, fishing pier, Spruce Grove horse stables 4 miles away with mounting platform. Boating - rowboats, canoes and kayaks allowed. Fishing. Hiking - several trails. Swimming - beach, but no lifeguard. 607-865-6989.
Delaware Wild Forest - located in the towns of Andes and Colchester off of Routes 206 and 30, County Route 7 and several town roads. Hiking - several trails from .7 miles to 6.5 miles long. Camping - primitive camping available. Boating - electric motors allowed on Big Pond; non motorized boats also allowed on Big Pond. Fishing - Trout Pond, Huggins Lake and Big Pond. Also can access the Beaver Kill off of Route 17. Handicapped Accessible - Delaware Wild Forest features Russell Brook Campsite which is a primitive campsite located about six miles north of Roscoe, NY. This roadside site features an accessible fire ring and pit privy. Additionally, there is an accessible campsite with a lean-to and pit privy which can be accessed by the Trout Pond Access Road. This gated route is past the Russell Brook Campsite and allowed access with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit. 607-652-7365.
Dry Brook Ridge Wild Forest - parts of the towns of Andes and Middletown, accessed via Route 28 and several town roads. Hiking - three trails from 1.7 miles to 13.6 miles. Camping - Primitive camping allowed. Biking - Is allowed on the trails, however, trails are not maintained for biking. 607-652-7365.
Little Pond Campground & Day Use Area, 549 Little Pond State Campground Road, Andes. Camping - 67 tent and trailer sites. Handicapped Accessible - The campground offers accessible campsites with a mile long trail around the pond. A newly constructed ADA fishing platform is at the end of the trail near the day use area. There is also a new ADA path to the beach. Boating - No motor boats allowed. Rowboats and canoes allowed. Rowboat, paddle boat, kayak and canoe rentals available. Hiking - campground trail and Little Pond trail. Swimming - Beach available - no lifeguard. 845-439-5480.
Oquaga Creek State Park, 5995 County Route 20, Bainbridge. Campsites, cabins and cottage. Fishing includes a handicapped accessible dock. Hiking and biking trails. 607-467-4160.
Delaware & Otsego Counties
Robert V. Riddell State Park - Town of Davenport in Delaware County and towns of Milford and Maryland in Otsego County near the Route 28/I-88 exchange, Davenport (Cooperstown exit). Tree ID trail and other trails, fishing in the Schenevus Creek. 607-432-2114.
Delaware & Ulster Counties
Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest - towns of Andes and Middletown in Delaware County, town of Hardenburgh in Ulster County, accessed off of Millbrook or Beaverkill Roads. Hiking - Several hiking trails including one to a fire tower. Fishing - allowed in Alder Lake. Paddling - canoes and kayaks allowed on Alder Lake. Camping - Primitive camping allowed. Biking - Mountain biking is allowed. Handicapped Accessible - There are accessible picnic tables, accessible parking, an informational kiosk and a seasonal accessible port-a-john. 845-256-3076.
Colgate Lake Wild Forest - towns of Hunter and Jewett, Colgate Road, off of Route 23C. Hiking - Colgate Lake Trail to Dutcher Notch and Escarpment Trails. Camping - Six designated primitive campsites, one of which is accessible and includes an accessible pit privy and fire pit. Boating - No motorboats allowed. Fishing in Colgate Lake. Biking - Is allowed, but trails are not maintained for bicycles. 607-652-7365.
Devil’s Tombstone Campground & Day Use Area, Route 214, Hunter. One of the oldest campgrounds in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Camping - Primitive camping allowed also has 24 tent and trailer sites. Hiking - the very popular Devil’s Path Trail crosses through the campground day use are. It is more than 21 miles long. 845-688-7160.
Elm Ridge Wild Forest - Windham, access off of Route 23. The 1,355-acre Elm Ridge Wild Forest is located in the northeast corner of the Catskill Forest Preserve. The unit contains a 1.5-mile portion of the Escarpment Trail, the 1.1-mile long Elm Ridge Trail, and numerous other trails totaling more than 25 miles available for multiple uses, including hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking. There are two parking areas that serve the unit, one on NYS Route 23 to the northwest and the other at the end of Peck Road to the south. 607-652-7365.
Halcott Mountain Wild Forest - Towns of Lexington and Halcott. Access off of Route 42. Hiking - Condon Hollow Road Trail (2.3 miles, yellow markers): the Condon Hollow Road Trail is the only trail in the unit. The trail extends between Turk Hollow Road and Condon Hollow Road and features a lean-to towards the Turk Hollow Road end on the trail. Primitive camping allowed. Fishing on the West Kill river. 607-652-7365.
North-South Lake Campground & Day Use Area - County Route 18, Haines Falls. Seven camping loops; 219 tent and trailer sites; 2 lakes; 2 beaches; Two picnic areas: one on North Lake with two picnic pavilion rentals a 20’ X 32’ and a 44’ X 24’ (the larger of the two with electricity) and one on South Lake with a 40’ X 60’ picnic pavilion rental (with electricity).; 2 picnic areas with tables and fireplaces or charcoal grills; playground; flush toilets; hot showers; boat launch (no motorized vessels); rowboat, canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals; firewood sales; volleyball; horseshoes; fishing; playing field; trailer dump station; recycling center; solar cell phone charging station; ADA fishing platform. Handicapped access - Day use, camping, picnic pads, grills, picnic tables, camping pads, showers, water access, rest rooms, fishing platform, observation platform, and pavilions. Also, there are accessible horse-mounting platforms at Sleepy Hollow trailhead, trail side campsite, and the Scutt Road trailhead for the nearby Kaaterskill Horse Trails. Boating - No motor boats allowed - canoe and kayaks allowed. Fishing on the lake is allowed. Hiking - numerous hiking trails. Swimming - For the safety of our customers, swimming will only be permitted when a lifeguard is on duty. Beach hours will be posted at facilities with swimming. 518-589-5058
Rusk Mountain Wild Forest - Towns of Lexington, Hunter and Jewett. Access off Sprucetown Road. Hiking - Sprucetown and Colonel’s Chair trails. Camping - one lean-to and primitive camping available. Camping is prohibited above an elevation of 3,500 feet in the Catskills, between March 21 and Dec. 21. Fishing in the Schoharie and West Kill rivers. 607-652-7365.
Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness - Towns of Cairo, Hunter, Jewett, Windham and Durham. Access off County Route 56 and Peck Road. Hiking - Escarpment, Windham High Peak, Burnt Know, Acra Point, Elm Ridge, Black Dome, Thomas Cole Mountain, Blackhead Mountain, Batavia Kill, Dutcher Notch and Colgate Lake trails. Primitive camping allowed under 3,500 feet. 607-652-7365.
Greene & Ulster Counties
Hunter-West Kill Wilderness - Towns of Lexington and Hunter in Greene County, town of Shandaken in Ulster County. Access off of Routes 42 and 214. Boast four hiking trails, from 1.7 miles to 25.2 miles. Camping - three lean-tos and primitive camping allowed. Fishing in the West Kill. 607-652-7365.
Indian Head Wilderness - Tone of Hunter in Greene County, towns of Saugerties and Woodstock in Ulster County. Access from Platte Clove Road and Mink Hollow Road. Hiking - several trails from the .3-mile Roaring Kill Trail to the 25.2-mile Devil’s Path. Camping - three lean-tos and primitive camping available. 607-652-7365.
Kaaterskill Wild Forest - Towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, town of Saugerties in Ulster County. Access off of Route 23A. Note: The Molly Smith parking area on Route 23A in the Town of Hunter is closed to improve visitor safety. DEC recommends visitors access Kaaterskill Falls by parking at the Laurel-House Road, Schutt Road, or South Lake parking areas. The 7,620-acre Kaaterskill Wild Forest, located in the Catskill Forest Preserve is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, due to the abundance of hiking and other recreational trails available, as well as the iconic Kaaterskill Falls. The terrain within Kaaterskill Wild Forest varies significantly in topography with sprawling mountains, dramatic cliffs, scenic waterfalls, and deep valleys. Hiking - trail to Kaaterskill Falls, Long Path, Kaaterskill High Peak, Huckleberry Point, Sleepy Hollow Horse Trail, Poet’s Ledge, Buttermilk Fall and Escarpment Trail. Camping - Primitive camping allowed on Escarpment trail. 607-652-7365.
Phoenicia-Mt. Tobias Wild Forest - Towns of Shandaken, Woodstock and Olive in Ulster County, town of Hunter in Greene County. Accessible from Routes 28 and 214 and Jessop Road. Hiking - Mt. Tremper Fire Tower Trail, Warner Creek Trail and Mt. Tobias: Abby Road Trails. Camping - two lean-tos and primitive camping available. Fishing - Phoenicia Mt. Tobias Wild Forest features Warner Creek, which is open to fishing. This creek can only be accessed by a substantial hike, via the Phoenician Trail. Handicap accessible - Esopus Creek Boat Access site features a hand launch, accessible fishing platform, picnic area and port-a-john. 845-256-3076.
Shandaken Wild Forest - Town of Lexington in Greene County and town of Shandaken in Ulser County. Shandaken Wild Forest contains six different parcels, each with its own distinctive character. The many remnants of past industries found here including farms, sawmills, bluestone mining and tanneries, will intrigue those interested in Catskill history. The Lower Birch Creek Road parcel is a historic Catskill mountain farmstead. The Allaben parcel is largely undeveloped forest with primitive campsites. The Rochester Hollow area contains ruins of a former estate and a spruce plantation that is the John Burroughs Memorial Forest. Hiking - Rochester Hollow Update: Access to the Rochester Hollow Trailhead on Matyas Road in Shandaken Wild Forest is currently limited to 4-wheel drive vehicles due to damage sustained from the recent flooding events in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Please use caution when attempting to access the Rochester Hollow Trailhead- 2wd vehicles should not attempt access at this time. The Rochester Hollow parcel has three marked trails. The longest is the Colonel Rochester Trail (blue blaze - 2.7 miles). There are two loops off the blue trail. The Burrough’s Memorial Forest Trail (yellow blaze -0.7 miles) leads to the John Burroughs Memorial Forest, a plantation of white and Norway spruce on an abandoned farm site. The Eignor Farm Trail (red blaze- 1.4 miles) continues from the end of the Blue trail and loops back to meet it. Camping - The Allaben parcel contains eight designated campsites, two of which are accessible with accessible picnic tables and fire rings. Rochester Hollow has an accessible lean-to campsite (with hardened surfaces, accessible picnic table, fireplace and privy) and two designated campsites. This site is near the end of a three-mile-long gated road (Rochester Hollow Road). Additionally, at-large primitive camping is allowed. Fishing - A small pond with a fishing platform is featured at the Lower Birch Creek Road Picnic Site. Biking - The Rochester Hollow Trails are open to mountain biking. Handicap accessible areas - Lower Birch Creek Road Picnic Site, Rochester Hollow and Allaben Campsites. 845-256-3076.
Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, 133 Davis Road, Schenevus. On-site facilities include a picnic area and the sunset pavilion picnic shelter. The park also features an extensive network of hiking trails and a woodland stream. Another park activity includes catch and release fishing. Camping - Six cottages available to rent. 607-547-8662.
Gilbert Lake State Park, 18 CCC Road, Laurens. Gilbert Lake State Park’s lake and three ponds lie in wooded, hilly terrain in the foothills of the Catskills. In addition to cabins and campsites, the park has more than 12 miles of interconnecting trails for hikers. Playgrounds and a disc golf course, as well as swimming, boat rentals, boating (car top/hard bottom boats) and fishing are also featured. Camping - Cabins for rent and camping and RV sites for rent. 607-421-2114.
Glimmerglass State Park, 1527 County Highway 31, Cooperstown. Hiking - An uphill trail through the forest affords a spectacular view of Otsego Lake; the Beaver Pond and Woodland trails are picturesque and of interest for the variety of wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and mosses. The Hyde Hall Mansion, Covered Bridge, and a self-guided Beaver Pond Nature Trail are within park boundaries and open to visitors. Camping - Cabins for rent and 47 campsites. 607-547-8662.
Max V. Shaul State Park, Route 30, Fultonham. Camping - 30 wooded tent and trailer sites. The park has shady picnic grounds, a pavilion available for rent, a playground and hiking trails. Ball fields are available to use and equipment can be borrowed from the park office at no cost. Fishing access is available at the Schoharie Creek, a short walk from the parking lot through the ball fields. 518-827-4711.
Mine Kill State Park, 161 Minekill Road, North Blenheim. Hiking - Trail to 80’ waterfall and more. Swimming - Olympic size pool, wading pool and a diving pool available at no cost to anyone. Other warm weather activities include hiking and mountain biking on the park’s eight miles of trails. 518-827-6111.
Beaverkill Campground & Day Use Area, 792 Berrybrook Road Spur, Roscoe. Camping - 52 tent and trailer sites (20 sites along the river), picnic area with tables and grills, flush toilets, hot showers, pay phone, trailer dump station, recycling center, firewood sales, mobility impaired accessibility, 140-year-old covered bridge. Fishing - located along the famous Beaverkill River. 845-439-4281
Crystal Lake Wild Forest - Town of Fremont. Access from Tennanah Lake Road, Roscoe. The 497-acre Crystal Lake Wild Forest includes a 32-acre man-made lake, seeps and streams, wetlands and an old beaver pond. The lake shore and surrounding moist woodland provide habitats for trilliums, wild leeks, Jack-in-the-pulpits and Dutchmens britches. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills (highest elevation 1,980 feet), quite steep along its eastern shore. Hiking - a 1.3-mile trail circles the lake. Camping is allowed at three locations within 150 feet of the lakeshore. Boating - no motorboats allowed. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats allowed. Fishing - allowed. 845-256-3076.
Lake Superior State Park, 342 Dr. Duggan Road, Bethel. Boating - no motor boats allowed, row boats and paddle boats are available to rent during the summer. Fishing is allowed. 845-807-0287
Mongaup Pond Campground & Day Use Area, 231 Mongaup Pond Road, Livingston Manor. Camping - 163 tent and trailer sites, picnic area with tables and grills, picnic pavilion rental, pay phones, flush toilets, hot showers, trailer dump station, recycling center, wheelchair accessible, sand beach, boat launch. Environmental and recreational programs from July to September. Boating - Make sure the boat has been complete dry for several days to ensure no invasive species are on the boat. Handicapped accessible - Mongaup Pond State Campground has eight accessible campsites. These campsites include an accessible picnic table, and many of them include an accessible fire ring. At the beach there are accessible showers, and next to the shower building there is an accessible trail with a mat over the beach down to the edge of the water. There is also an accessible observation deck on the water with picnic tables. Fishing allowed, but the use of baitfish is not allowed. Swimming - will only be permitted when a lifeguard is on duty. Hiking - several trails available to hike. 845-439-4233.
Big Indian Wilderness - Towns of Denning, Shandaken and Hardenburgh. Access from Route 28 and Oliverea Road. Hiking - Four hiking trails from 1.9 to 14.1 miles. Fishing - The Big Indian Wilderness harbors the headwaters of some of the finest trout fisheries in the Catskills: the Esopus Creek, the Beaverkill, the Neversink and the Willowemoc. Camping - there are five lean-tos and primitive camping is allowed below 3,500 feet. 845-256-3076.
Bluestone Wild Forest - Towns of Hurley and Kingston. Access from Route 28 and Route 209 via Woods Road. Hiking - The Bluestone Wild Forest contains roughly 29 miles of trail, much of which is built for mountain biking. Foot traffic is prevalent in the area as well, particularly near Onteora Lake. Hikers particularly enjoy the Onteora Lake Loop Trail, Red Eft Trail, and Bluestone Trail. Fishing - Onteora Lake includes a handicapped accessible fishing platform. Boating - Canoes and kayaks allowed on Onteora Lake. Biking - Mountain bikes are permitted on all marked trails throughout the trail network within Bluestone Wild Forest. Handicapped Accessible - Onteora Lake provides opportunities for fishing and picnicking. An accessible trail starts at the parking lot next to an informational kiosk. The path first leads to an accessible picnic table and then an observation area. The path ends at the edge of the water, where there is an accessible fishing platform. There is accessible parking and a seasonal accessible portable toilet located in the parking lot. 845-256-3076.
Franny Reese State Park, Johnson-Iorio Park, Haviland Road, Highland. Hiking & Biking - It offers over 2.5 miles of hiking and biking trails that follow a historic carriage road and passes by the ruins of a 19th century mansion. An overlook affords amazing views of the Hudson River, Mid-Hudson Bridge, Walkway Over the Hudson Historic Park, and the City of Poughkeepsie.
Kenneth L. Wilson Campground & Day Use Area, 859 Wittenberg Road, Mt. Tremper. Camping - 76 tent and trailer sites; picnic area with tables and grills; pavilion rentals; firewood sales; flush toilets; hot showers; trailer dump station; recycling center; mobility impaired accessibility; bathhouse; pay phone; dog park; playground; boat rentals; horseshoe pits. Boating - Rowboats and canoes allowed. Canoe, stand up paddle board and kayak rentals available. Handicap Accessible - Accessible features in the Day Use area include a fishing pier and a floating dock with a canoe/kayak launch. A new picnic area surrounds a fire pit with grills and a water spigot. Also, there is a quarter-mile trail over a bridge and through the woods to an 80-foot wildlife viewing platform along the shore of the Little Beaverkill. 845-679-7020.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 5281 Route 44/55, Kerhonkson. Due to the pandemic, this park reaches its capacity quickly. The park features numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, incising sheer cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views, clear streams cut into valleys. Hiking - 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths on which to bike, walk, hike. Technical rock climbing also permitted. 845-255-0752.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve: Sam’s Point Area, 400 Sam’s Point Road, Cragsmoor. Hiking - Lake Maratanza, one of the five Shawangunk sky lakes; ice cave crevices that you can explore; cliffs and numerous scenic vistas are available to see on numerous trails. 845-647-7989.
Mohonk Preserve, 3197 State Route 55, Gardiner and 50 Upper 27 Knolls Road in High Falls Hiking - on carriage trails and other trails including some rock scrambles. Biking - carriage roads. Trailheads open at 7 a.m. for members and 9 a.m. for visitors. 845-255-0919.
Overlook Mountain Wild Forest - Town of Woodstock. Access from MacDaniel and Meads Mountain roads. Hiking - The Overlook Mountain Wild Forest offers a unique combination: a historic fire tower, mountain house ruins, and impressive views of the Hudson River Valley and the central Catskills all within an under five-mile hike. Biking - Biking is permitted on Meads Mountain Road Trailhead to Overlook Fire Tower trail and continuing on to Prediger Road (Overlook Turnpike Primitive Bicycle Corridor). Camping - primitive camping allowed. 845-256-3076.
Slide Mountain Wilderness - Towns of Shandaken, Denning and Olive. Accessible from Route 28 and Peekamoose Road. Hiking - All 35 miles of trails in this area are open exclusively to foot travel, affording the visitor an uninterrupted back country experience. Camping - There are 24 designated primitive campsites and three lean-tos in the Slide Mountain Wilderness. Fishing - The Slide Mountain Wilderness harbors the headwaters of some of the finest fisheries in the Catskills, including the Esopus Creek and the east and west branches of the Neversink River. 845-256-3076.
Woodland Valley Campground & Day Use Area, 1319 Woodland Valley Road, Phoenicia. Camping - 70 tent and trailer sites, picnic area with tables and grills, flush toilets, hot showers, trailer dump station, recycling center, mobility impaired accessibility, pay phone. Hiking - This campground serves as the trail-head for both the Slide-Wittenberg Trail (the Burroughs Range) and Woodland Valley-Denning Trail (which provides access to the Giant Ledge-Panther Mountain Trail. Fishing - allowed in the Woodland Valley Stream. 845-688-7647.
Ulster & Sullivan Counties
Sundown Wild Forest - Towns of Denning, Wawarsing and Olive in Ulster County, town of Neversink in Sullivan County. Accessible from Route 28A in the north and Route 55 and Route 55A in the south. The 30,100-acre Sundown Wild Forest covers a large swath of the southeast Catskills, including several ridges and 10 mountains over 2,000 feet. Sundown features an impressive mix of natural features - mountains, waterfalls, valleys and rivers - rich with trout streams, hiking destinations, Hiking - several hiking trails, including the popular Vernooy Kill Falls, Red Hill Fire Tower and Peekamoose Trails. Day use permit required for some trails. Fishing - Available in the Rondout Creek. Camping - Primitive camping allowed in the Peekamoose Valley. No group camping allowed. Biking - The first 2.4 miles on the old Kanape woods road are suitable for mountain bikes. Sections of the Vernooy Kill Falls and Denman Mountain Snowmobile-Multiple Use Trails are also suitable. Handicapped Accessible - The Peekamoose Valley Camping Area provides opportunities for accessible camping, hiking, picnicking and fishing. There is a 0.25-mile accessible trail that leads to a streamside picnic area and accessible fishing pier. Two accessible campsites are located within the Trailer Field and are equipped with fire rings and accessible picnic tables. A seasonal accessible port-a-john and an accessible informational kiosk are available nearby. 845-256-3076.
Willowemoc Wild Forest - Towns of Neversink and Rockland in Sullivan County, towns of Denning and Hardenburgh in Ulster County. Access from Frost Valley Road and Mongaup Pond Road. Hiking - All trails are open to foot travel. Approximately 15 miles are for hiking only, such as the Mongaup-Hardenburgh Trail to the Big Indian Wilderness. Fishing - Long Pond (15 acres), Frick Pond (6 acres) and Quick Lake (4 acres), all likely contain brown bullhead, golden shiner and chain pickerel. They may also provide seasonal habitat for brook trout. Camping - Two lean-tos and primitive camping available. Handicap accessible: Waneta Lake has an accessible fishing pier which offers fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch and pumpkinseeds. Waneta Lake also offers picnicking with an accessible picnic table. There is an accessible information kiosk, accessible parking and a seasonal accessible portable toilet. 845-256-3076.
The information was found on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, dec.ny.gov, the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website, parks.ny.gov, and the Mohonk Preserve website, mohonkpreserve.org.
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